During an International League game between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Durham Bulls, things got a little weird. A Bulls runner successfully stole third base because Red Sox catcher Humberto Quintero drilled Luke Maile in the stomach with the baseball as he stood in the batter’s box.
It looks like Quintero did it on purpose because he made zero attempt to move out of the way of Maile. The then-35-year-old catcher, who had played for five major league teams to this point, then tried to argue with the umpire that the play should have been called as interference, as if the batter doesn’t have the right to stand in the box.
Minor League Catcher Drills Batter on Stolen Base Attempt
So, who was right and who was wrong?
MLB rules state that a batter cannot interfere with or hinder the catcher’s throwing by making any movement. However, in the case of a right-handed batter and a runner stealing third, the batter is not expected to hit the floor and do whatever possible for the opposing catcher to nab his teammate.
According to Baseball Rules Academy, the batter “does not have to vacate the box to open a throwing lane, but he cannot make any other movement that hinders the catcher’s play.”
Maile was practically a statue after the pitch, so he was in the right.
As for Quintero trying to sell this batter’s interference, well, nice try.